Feb 3, 2008

Oh What a Night!

What a wind storm we had during the night. The wind began to intensify around 2am. By 4am the wind was howling and the motorhome was rocking and shuddering and we couldn't sleep. We could hear the desert sand swirling around outside, at times it sounded like rain as it slapped the windows. The awning over the slide sounded like a sail slapping in a gale.   

After pulling the slide in and lowering the tv antennae, we lay in bed and listened to the wind, finally getting back to sleep as light was appearing on the horizon. Later we learned that the winds may have been as high as 60 mph.  Mollie stayed curled up on the bed throughout the night and seemed unfazed by the commotion. 

We were up again before 7:30, turned on the generator and decided we would have a quick breakfast and then pack up and leave. After 3 nights without hookups and limited generator use, we were ready to go south and to a lower elevation. 

We had a nice time at Joshua Tree, hiking and exploring, however the campground was a bit of a disappointment. First of all, it's 5 miles from the park entrance and secondly doesn't appear to be very well taken care of. And we both felt that the $15. per night charge for the priviledge of dry-camping (with lots of rules and very limited generator time ) was a bit steep. 

We drove about an hour down to the town of Indio where we had full hook-ups!! Although it was still quite windy, the sun was shining and the air was warm and pleasant. Judy did some laundry and vacuumed away the dust, and John got to watch the Super Bowl while we ate chicken tacos and homemade guacamole/mango salsa.

Joshua Tree National Park

Saturday- Feb 2

We woke shortly after 6am,in time to see a beautiful sunrise. We are only allowed to run our generator from 7-9am, 12-2pm, and 5-7pm, so right at 7am we turned the generator on and got the coffee pot started and oatmeal cooking. After breakfast, we grabbed our walking sticks, a bottle of water and headed for the High Mountain trailhead that starts at the edge of the campground.

Our campsite is at 4000 ft elevation and it was a steady climb of a 1 1/2 miles up to the trail summit. What a great view from the top. See if you can spot our MH.

After we got back to the MH, we packed a picnic lunch, grabbed Mollie and headed out in the car to explore the National Park itself. The actual park is about 5 miles from the campground with an admission fee of $15. (good for 7 days). The park is HUGE and we had a good time exploring some of what it has to offer. Of course there are plenty of Joshua trees as well as desert plants and cacti and incredible rock formations.

This is also a favorite place for rock climbers to do their 'thing'. We enjoyed watching some of them climb while we ate our lunch. On the park map, we saw a road named Geology Tour Road that was about 18 miles round trip. It also said the road was not maintained and only 4-wheel drive vehicles were recommended. So off we went to explore. We noticed on the map that this road branched off and would lead us to another main road that we could take back to the campground. The road was very bumpy, and literally washed out in spots but still passable until the road narrowed and became nothing but rock.

At this point, we decided that we weren't in the mood to risk getting stranded in this vast desert so we turned around and headed out the other way. The other way wasn't much better but eventually led us back to civilization.

We live to explore another day.